A day after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee raised the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Centre today ordered a probe into the circumstances leading to the collapse of two sluice gates of Farakka Barrage which reportedly led to excess water flow to Bangladesh.
"Chairman of Central Water Commission R C Jha will look into the reasons behind the collapse of gates 13 and 16 and suggest corrective measures for future," Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said here.
Jha will submit his report within the next 15 days to the ministry. Till the time the gates are not put in place, a member of the CWC will remain at the barrage site over river Ganga, Bansal said.
The barrage has 108 gates and the two which collapsed were erected in 1975.
The probe will also ascertain whether the collapse could have been anticipated and reasons of delay in repair of the gates. It is learnt that Jha will also probe whether the collapse was an accident or done "purposely".
"In June, we came to know there is a leakage in Farakka barrage. There is an Indo-Bangla agreement and according to it Bangladesh will get 33 per cent water and rest will be for India... we asked for repair of the barrage to prevent leakage of water.
"We found that because of the leakage, Bangladesh is getting 88 per cent of water and as a result the state rivers, including Bhagirathi, are suffering from lack of water,"
Banerjee had told reporters yesterday after meeting the PM.
Besides dry rivers, she said it is affecting power plants and water supply in the state. "Thermal power plant is being closed down due to the water crisis."
She warned there will be severe water and power crisis in the state. "A disaster is waiting to happen because of the crisis. Many ships are not being able to move from the ports. It is scandalous. I demand a high-level inquiry into it."